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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  May 8, 2012 12:30am-1:00am EDT

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like politics and religion. it is called "the righteous mind." and a conversation about education with anthony salcito. microsoft has committed half a billion dollars in global education, including a program and philadelphia, the microsoft school of the future. jonathan haidt and anthony salcito, coming out right now. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where walmart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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tavis: jonathan haidt is a professor at the university of virginia and a contributor to the new york times and is an author whose latest is "the righteous mind why good people are divided by politics and religion." he joins us from new york. good to have you on the program. >> my pleasure. tavis: there are six more of things that you wrestle with in the book. a around which there is this great divide in the country with regard to the way we think and the way we process. let me jump in them one at a time. first, care and harm. had we differ about the issues of care and harm? >> everybody had some feelings of compassion. everybody is nice to their
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children. what we find, i have a website, what we find is that we give questions about compassion nor caring or how much it bothers you to see animals suffering or anybody harmed, we find that people who describe themselves as liberals say they care more than people on the right. everybody cares but it is more of a liberal virtue. tavis: the second thing is fairness. >> that is where the action is these days. everybody in the world cares about fairness. the left to tend to blend it with care and compassion in tend to think it is helping those who are court. on the right, they are focused on fairness as proportionality which means, are people getting in proportion what they put in? if you are taking out more, you are a cheater. that is so much of our discourse. that is what the tea party is
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about. an almost obsessive focus on government and fairness. tavis: and then there is liberty. >> everybody is in favor of liberty but they mean something different. liberals have always stood for standing up for the little guy. in the 19th century, they start saying it is not a government which is the problem, it is industry. then they look to government for the solution. liberals are concerned about corporations as the oppressor. on the rights, it is the opposite. they see business as good and they see a government as the oppressor which makes it hard for small business people. tavis: let's talk about loyalty. >> now we get into the things which are now more pronounced on the right. group loyalty, if you are on the left and you' concerned about
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racism, you get concerned about tribal loyalty, the boundaries between groups. on the right, they see it as natural and loyal that they should be a loyal to their companies, families, and nations. tavis: the second of those three that you referenced, authority. >> if you see a bumper sticker that says question authority, they are not on the right. authority is a virtue on the right and they have a. you have to have institutions to keep order in society. on all left, people are wary about those authorities being oppressors. the left it tends to be anti- authority. this plays out in the older culture war from the 1960's through the 1990's where, i should parents is be able to
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spain. those were cultural issues around authority. tavis: the last is sanctity. >> that is right. on the religious right, religious people in general have the feeling the world is not just material. our bodies, things have an immaterial, spiritual essence. on the left, the left is very secular nowadays, cloning, euthanasia, all of those issues are non-issues because it is do whatever reduce the suffering. on the right there is feeling the you should not mess with certain things. tavis: this book, the book is about the righteous mind, these psychological origins of these divisions. have you have laid out what they are, and tell me more about these origins of these divisions.
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>> by early research, i am a social psychologist, help people make moral judgments. when i entered the field, everyone was looking at moreau reasoning. should a person still a drug to save his wife's life. people go by gut feelings. they react quickly and then they are making up stories afterward. the stories they tell are not the causes of their judgment. that caught me looking into moral intuitions. i have been studying it for 25 years. i work with an anthropologist to develop ideas that led me to say those foundations we talked about. i started looking at how cultures and nations vary in their morality. i looked at india and brazil and in 2004, when the democrats lost the elections, i started to
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realize, left and right are like different nations. that is when i started measuring what people say on surveys, looking at their behavior in finding there is a difference. the left tens to focus on care, backed up by fairness and liberty. whereas the right has a much more even set of concerns across all those foundations. tavis: president obama is right that there are no red to states or blue states, there are only the united states. if we are all raised in this country, under this same flag, and we seem to care about certain things, like the issue of poverty, how is it we end up seeing the way forward on these issues so different? >> it would be nice to believe there are no red states and blues states but there obviously are. even in the same states, like new york, you have some liberal parts. but most of the state is more
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conservative. we are not really one nation. we have some things in common but we have created these moro communities. the metaphor, the matrix is a mutual hallucination. left and right have become these closed world's, gated communities, which are like the matrix. either you are raised with respect for authority and patriotism, love of the foundin fathers, or was he sensed that there is oppression and racism and the good fight is one that fights for the rights of the oppressed. i think we are not raised in one more community. tavis: you argue that republicans are voting their moral self interest when they go to the polls. why is that true of republicans and not democrats? aren't we all voting are of self-interest? >> there is a lot of
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misconception about what and voting is about. there is a naive view that people are selfish and they get them what gives them the most. democrats, why is the white working class, why are they voting against us when we will give them more programs? what is the matter with kansas. if you talk to these people, the people who you think would be on the left, they do not want to live and the kind of country the left is promoting. they resonate to the republican party and the reason is because the right makes this appeal grounded on all six foundations. there is a feeling of a strong nation, tradition, god, all of those things. is a conservative person voting against herself into a stiff paper for that nation to one focused on social justice? there is a lot to be sent on both sides but nobody is voting
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for their self-interest. they are voting for the kind of country they want to live in. tavis: we are talking around the edges, help me understand the psychology behind the thinking of the tea party. >> i have argued that the idea for the tea party is the idea of carmela. the tea party is a mixture of libertarian and social conservatives. it is a diverse movement. i would not want to characterize it too precisely. but as i see at the central theme they're concerned about is the notion of karma. the idea that there is a lot of the universe, that if you do something bad, something bad is going to happen to you. this is like the protestant work ethic. work hard, you will succeed. if the government comes along
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and starts saying, you know what, a tube fails, i don't worry, we are going to give you welfare. you can be irresponsible and we will help you. that is repealing the law of karma. i think it is a moralistic movement, in reaction to what they see as the growth of the welfare state. i think that he party is concerned about fairness. they do not hate all government programs. they do not like programs they think give to the unworthy. where i think the right is incorrect is that they endorse this notion of karma but it was invented to explain why people are born into poverty through no fault of their own. if you're using this notion that people get what they deserve to justify why people get sick and
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why people are dying in the gutter in india, you are wrong. there is a lot of bad luck in the world. they are right to want it to operate into the future, but if you use it to say, it must be because they did something wrong. sometimes that is true but as you have been saying in your tour, usually that is not true. there is all kinds of bad luck. tavis: i have not scratched the surface and about why good people are divided by politics and religion. let me do this has the access question, the assumption is made that we are talking about the good people. i am not trying to demean or cast aspersions, but politics are ugly. they are nasty, racist. i am all for a good people disagreeing. we can disagree without being
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disagreeable. i do not have a monopoly on the truth. but i wonder to what extent you think the politics have been polluted behalf by some who are elected officials and others who are on the outside influencing the body politic. i am not certain they are all good people. >> i think that is right. my point in the book is that we are all moral creatures. we all act to make the better -- world a better place. it is not all selfish. it is a miracle we can get along with people who are not our family. argument is that people in years -- are driven by moral motives. i was a liberal for all my life but learning about conservatism and realizing, a 1/2 to say, they are wise to certain trees. i am -- have a lot of respect for conservatism.
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there is a lot of wisdom on both sides. morality blinds and blinds. once you're on a team, you circle around your sacred objects. you have to look and find the wisdom. to your question, is everybody sincere? absolutely not. political parties are gangs. there are interested in victory and they would do anything to achieve victory. i tried to be fair and disabled sides do dirty tricks, but i think the republicans, there was a recent article, the republicans have moved further to the right. they have been more obstructionist in the senate, more destructive. i have to tell you, the last week has shaken my ability to look obol sides in that eric cantor made some comments saying, 45% of americans do not
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pay income tax. maybes they should pay so everybody has a skin in the game. this is the last straw, for me. my suggestion is a look at what the group holds sacred and you will find them circling. on the rights, taxes, they are evil, we cannot raise them. you cannot close loopholes. there are in an obsessive circle around heating taxes. then they propose raising taxes on the poor? they are not going to raise taxes on millionaires? my view is walleye have agreed to deal of respect for conservatism, not for the republican party. they have shown themselves to be not a party fighting for freedom against government but for tax cuts for the rich. tavis: you said a lot that i
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agree with but i particularly love, about the notion that morality lines and lines. i appreciate you sharing that along with a wonderful ?. it is called "the righteous mind why good people are divided by politics and religion." by jonathan haidt, thank you for your time. up next, education chief anthony salcito. stay with us. anthony salcito is the vp of worldwide education at microsoft, overseeing a $500 million initiative including the microsoft will of the future and philadelphia and the microsoft friends network. good to have you on the program. tell me about this program that microsoft is behind. >> it is called partners in learning and it started eight years ago. microsoft was looking at the
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ways in which we can uplift not only technology in education but how we can work with leaders all over the world to solve some of the big problems facing our teachers and students. we have been working on the ground to make a difference. tavis: hard as it advanced the cause of education? >> the question is interesting. in the classroom. technology has a role in the classroom. those questions are starting to be asked by school leaders and teachers around how they can use technology. we have to be thoughtful about asking the right questions and not just to jam it into classrooms which has happened. technology can play a role, whether it is helping students collaborate and share information with each other, tools to learn from teachers who may not exist in their schools.
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that can be done. technology will be part of unanswered but it is a deeper question and journey we have to support. tavis: how does our education system respond to every child? >> that is a great question and one of the update pieces our leaders, secretary duncan, are focused on. personalized learning is one area of focus and technology can play a role in that. that is part of the area of focus we have to deliver. tavis: how is this being spent? >> many ways. largely to support innovation. one of the things we learn and that we know when we travel around the world and into partnerships, which serve 119 countries. this is a global issue. teachers a struggle all over the world. parents want the same for their kids.
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students are struggling to make a difference. what we also see is examples, superstars inside classrooms all over the world. there are great teachers here in los angeles. next door, not so great where innovation that does not scale. one focus is to lift up expectations on innovation. how do we support a great methodologies? that is one of the critical things i see when i travel around the world. i will go to a classroom and see amazing kings. a teacher that is making a difference, in lightning a student, doing great things with technology. before i leave the school, i will go into another classroom. a person on the tour will say, you do not need to look at the classroom. there is nothing special going on there. that is a crime. some classrooms, nothing special
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is happening. next door, a lot of things are happening. we have to share the innovation and support teachers to innovate together. tavis: you mention teachers around the world have some of the same issues. the u.s. is falling farther and farther behind. bill gates has talked about the achievement gap in this country and the foundation is working on those issues. what does this program do to shrink at achievement gap? >> it is important we focus on relevance. one of the areas we have learned and the partnerships we have started, one of the things is algebra. it is where students lose interest in science and math and an area where this country struggles as it compares to china where 40% of the students are focusing on science and engineering as a courier.
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less than 17% of students in the u.s. are doing so. that is where the growth opportunities will be. it starts in out your brow where kids will say, what does this have to do with the world? that question is a powerful and important for the teacher to get right. if we do not prepare for that question. the reason why they feel they're learning something is because it is on the test. we have to have a deeper dialogue with regards to how learning and content prepares students with schools and two -- skills to ask questions, and abstract thinker, which is a foundation for advanced mathematics. other countries are doing that. there connecting the dots between learning for students and what their future could be. tavis: there are a number of things critics say about microsoft and the gates foundation. one is that the education crisis
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will not be solved by throwing more money at the problem. your response to that is what? >> i agree. a lot of times you have to get intond the cmunities and ask questions. the school of the future we started with the city of philadelphia to help them show what an innovative school could look like. it was designed to provide a great use of how technology can transform a modern school in an urban city. we wanted to embrace the toughest challenges. we picked the toughest neighborhood nicknamed "the bottom." we said let's do the work. what we found, we went to the community and knocked on the doors of parents. talk to students. when said bill gates is going to build a school. what you want? we expected fantastic ideas of
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technology and an x box in the bathroom and all of these ias from students who are hungry for technology. what we found his parents said i want my child to be safe. safe inside the school as they walked to and from school. students said the same thing. i want to feel comfortable learning. comfortable going to and from school. that was almost a punch in the gut to say it does not require throwing assumptions to problems. you have to connect to what is going on in the committee to face and make him tax. -- impacts. tavis: how is what is happening inside the school for the real world? whenever you offer inside the beautiful structure we saw a moment ago, in the minds of some, it pales in comparison to the challenges they face in
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their streets, in their homes, as a closing question, i asked whether or not that is hard to process every day, no matter what you are doing on the inside, so much of what is holding them back is the outside. >> it is absolutely true. students in school for 10% of their burning like. they have opportunities to be influenced by the pressures of their environment. i am from the streets of the bronx. technology saved me. all of my friends were doing drugs and shooting each other. i was using my computer to learn about different things around the world. the computer was what kept me out of trouble. i spent a lot of time working with kids to celebrate their path. recognize you can make a difference. the world needs you. we have to bring businesses like microsoft, parents, other parts of the community to support
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students. we cannot fail. we do not have a generation to lose. we need the idea is that these students will bring to the work force in the world we live in. tavis: good to have you on the program. that is our show for tonight. you can download are new application tonight. good night from l.a., thanks for watching. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with an author. that is next time. we will see you then. >> every community has a martin luther king boulevard. it's the cornerstone we all know. it's not just a street or boulevard, but a place where walmart stands together with your community to make every day better. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like
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you. thank you. >> be more. pbs. >> be more. pbs.
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martha stewart, sanjay gupta, and margaret cho share their experiences as first-generation americans. cho: it's such a terrible pain to be cut off from what really is your home. stewart: my father was brought up in that era when immigrants were kind of like second-class citizens.

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